Survival Knife

From the crudest cutting utensils of ancient times, to the precision blades of today, the knife is often referred to as the #1 tool for survival. Pocket knives, military blades, crazy contraptions that look like they are meant for killing Zombies, knives are everywhere. Ask a survivalist what one item they couldn’t live without, and more often than not they will tell you their knife.

Personally I am a blade junkie; I have a wide variety of cutting tools in my collection.

So what do I carry?

The SOG Seal Pup Elite

SOG Seal Pup Elite

My #1 choice of survival knives is the SOG Seal Pup Elite; if I were stuck in the wilderness and could only bring one knife, I would definitely choose my SOG.

With all of that said, I tend to use cheaper blades for day-to-day cutting. Yes I carry my SOG for emergencies (and I do use it for certain tasks)….. but I worry less about damaging the blade when I use a $10 – $15 one for daily work. Believe it or not there are a lot of very good knives out there for under $15, specifically the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife.

The Good Old Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knife

I tend to use my Swiss army knife for just about everything. From cutting rope, opening boxes, and daily chores, to being my go-to knife when fishing, this little thing can take a beating.

A Swiss Army knife generally has a variety of blades, various tools and other useful gadgets.  At one time there were two companies that are allowed to feature the Swiss Army Cross Logo; Victorinox or Wenger.

Recently Victorinox bought out Wenger making them the only manufacture to feature the Swiss Army Cross Logo

Multitools

Letherman Multitools

Although I don’t think of this as a typical knife, I do carry a Multitool which has a couple of different blades in it.

Popular Multitool Brands include:

  • Gerber
  • SOG
  • Leatherman


Husky Utility Blades

Husky Utility Knife

This little blade comes in very handy. I carry a couple of these in my truck and a few in my tool bucket. I break it out when I’m out on a job site to cut just about anything.

You can find them at just about any hardware store for under $10 including multiple blades.

What Knives to stay away from?

Rambo StyleSurvival Knives – When a company markets their blade as a “survival knife” they are probably not worth the weight in your bag.

Stay away from the ones that have a hollow handle filled with so-called survival gear. The handles on these knives suck and are guaranteed to break when you need them the most.

Fancy Blades – If it looks like it belongs in a movie, chances are it’s of little use in an emergency situation.

It may look cool as part of your collection, just don’t count on it to get you out of any sticky situations.

 

No matter what you carry, make sure you take care of your knife. A sharp knife is far safer than a dull one. When my blade is dull I sharpen it, if it beyond repair I get rid of it.

Looking for a Good SOG? This is what I carry…..

23 Comments

  1. Dustin
    April 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    The CheaperThanDirt rough use knife is actually quite durable ~ $20.

    My EDC knife is a classic Leatherman Multitool. Excellent investment – no frills, just built-to-last.

    My primary bush knife is an ESEE RC-5. Built like a tank, guaranteed forever, no questions asked. I’ve now become a HUGE fan of ESEE knives.

    Had a Ka-Bar – never held a good edge for me and the powdercoat chipped off readily.

    Had a Gerber LMFII ASEK – the rubber overmolding on the handle started to peel after a few days.

    Still have a Mora I paid $15 for – excellent knife, holds its edge very well… it even floats. Made of high carbon steel, so it WILL rust if left unattended.

    When shopping for a knife, do consider:
    1) The length and weight you need and find comfortable (some choppers may be too heavy, some bushcraft knifes may not be heavy enough)
    2) The type of use you intend (a knife is not an axe, but you may need to baton through wood to split it, for instance)
    3) The composition of metal (high carbon, stainless steel) and rockwell hardness rating.
    4) Knife style – many sway by full tang-or-nothing designs, some prefer skeletonized designs to conserve weight, some hate serrations, some love clip points, etc.
    5) Budget

    Cheap isn’t always trash, but sometimes you do get what you pay for. Do your homework before you buy. If you grab the first thing you see for $20 at the local flea market you may regret it when you’re miles into the woods and that knife has a LOT riding on it.

    • richie
      May 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      my bob knives are a gerber lmf and a kabar bk2, but the blade i carry at all times is a SOG pentagon elite, its tough as hell and I use it every day. all the knives Ive listed are under a hundred, but worst case SHTF Ill take the lmf.

    • JoeTLakeCharles
      September 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      I have a plethora of fixed blade knives and agree that cheap, isn’t always junk. My EDC is a Condor Basic Bushcraft (5). I picked it up on eBay for around $30. Made in El Salvador, it has a full tang, improvised Scandi grind, carbon steel, sharpens easily, and takes a beating. I give it a “Thumbs Up” for anyone who needs a good working blade without a heavy price tag.
      Thank you all for your input and God Bless.

  2. Bugler
    April 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

    “Cheap isn’t always trash” is absolutely true. I love my Mora!

  3. bruce
    May 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

    i agree with the Mora, by far Mora’s are best.. light weight, tough as shit and cost around 20 dollars.

  4. Not all hollow handled knives are crappy. Check out Chris Reeve knives, and there are others, I just cant think of their names. I think Randall knives markets a hollow handled knife, and it certainly wouldn’t be junk. Personally my idea for a survival type knife would be one that you could use for most “survival” related tasks, i.e.: cutting, prying, chopping, and at the bare extreme, fighting. But I think multi-tools are awesome “urban survival” knives. I would also want a good solid fixed blade to go along with it. Today, CRKT, TOPS Knives, and others offer good solid fixed blade knives for a good value. Another opinion of mine is that a sheath that holds all the necessary survival implements is more valuable than a knife that does.

  5. Joe Morrow
    June 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

    The Best knife is like the Best firearm, it is the one you have with you when you have need of it. Choose a high quality folder for inside the pocket carry. If you always have it, it will always be there for You!
    Keep sharp, in mind and blade.

  6. Ansis
    June 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Guess prefer Mora knifes from Sweden. Variations in price and seemingly very decent cheap ones.

  7. Ansis
    June 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    (Weird two posts in a row but)

    Cheap being – Mora 511 for 5 usd (carbon or stainless)

  8. DAVE
    June 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I agree that Moras just can’t be beat for all around use and price, but for tactical/self-defense use… would not be my first choice. Muli-tool with a can opener is a must. Can anyone recommend a good quality, decently priced fixed blade tactical/self-defense knife. I just sold a few and I’m in the market for one.

    • Matt
      February 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

      I carry a Cold Steel Mini Tac Kiridashi for EDC self defense. Small and light but size eficient, I got it for biomechanical cutting, but it’ll go thru a carotid, puncture a lung and liver, etc. as well as any 3 incher. I like the Safekeeper II as well, but push daggers, you know, about the same class as brass knuckles, you’d catch a case for wearing it, pretty much anywhere.

      as for a real fighting knife, IDK, but i like Cold Steel stuff, maybe the OSS or Peace Maker? Not to mention bowies, that is what we use in this country. The SK-5 models have great reviews too. I’d really like a Gurka Kukri for a general purpose field blade. Super versatile, takes the role af a few different knives and tools.
      Bushman and Canadian Belt Knife can definately find use in survival gear too.

  9. July 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

    My Gerber Big Rock is a excellent choice for those who have limited budgets. The handles will come off if they wear out, so that no big issue to me. Some of you carry machete looking knives….i want to keep it simple.

  10. Iain
    August 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Gerber LMFII Infantry – Awesome bt of kit that i’ve used to make shelters etc with, takes a real hammering and retains a good edge.

  11. ReginaPhalange
    September 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Great post and great comment from Dustin.
    Re: Denny Symes’ comment about hollow-handled knives, no, not all hollow-handled knives are junk, but the cheap ones certainly are. And the post did specify hollow handles filled with stuff, which I doubt the Chris Reeves knife is. And I believe the CRK is made from one piece of steel, not a blade attached to a hollow handle via flimsy joint like most of those saw-backed, hollow-handled, piñata knives filled with fishing line and compasses are. Unfortunately, any decent hollow-handled knife is going to be out of the price range of the very demographic they most appeal to: teenage boys and younger men. So for them, their intro to “survival” knives (sometimes knives in general) is pure junk.

  12. Mike Wallace
    October 17, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I SEARCHED FOR A LONG TIME(OVER 6 MONTHS)FOR THE RIGHT BUSH SHEATH KNIFE. I PICKED THE KERSHAW D2 OUTCAST. THIS KNIFE WEIGHS IN AT 22 OZ,COMES WITH A KYDEX SHEATH,10″ BOLO STYLE BLADE,16″ OVERALL. SOME WILL SAY IT’S A BIT HEAVY,BUT IT WILL DO EVERYTHING AN AXE WILL AND MORE. I HAVE USED IT TO FELL 8″ HARD WOOD TREES,DIG PRIVY HOLES,SPLIT FIRE WOOD. IT HAS YET TO LET ME DOWN. THE EDGE RETENTION IT GREAT. FOR $70.OO DOLLARS IT CAN’T BE BEAT. i ALWAYS CARRY MY LEATHER MULTI TOOL AS A “FIRST” KNIFE. GIVE THE OUTCAST A LOOK. THANKS!

  13. Andy Zarvas
    December 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Gerber rock is good, nice sturdy full tang knife but the rubber handles are cheap, But I laced mine up with a Paracord handle. Nice feel now. The blade holds an excellent edge. Well that is all I have for today…

  14. Jim Freeland
    January 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I have used many knives over the last 35yrs.ranging from Sears Roebuck, Gerber and Al Mar, for hunting,combat carry and survival. The one that I have consistantly returned to using is a Camillius K-Bar. Mine has always held a pretty good edge and I have not had any problems with the finish degrading. As with any knife, you should keep it clean and the edge touched up. If I had to hit the wilderness tomorrow, I would take my Leatherman and my K-Bar.

  15. MJ Sloan
    January 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Try checking out a local gun or knife show. Sometimes I have found used knives that are excellent and for almost 50
    % of the price of new. I prefer a folding CRKT in a 5 inch blade and also a fixed 7 to 9 inch blade like a K Bar.
    Definitly also a good multitool for cutting things like wire or heavy paracord.

  16. JoeDirt - 77433
    March 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I’d highly suggest 2 knives , ..I always carry a leatherman “Sideclip” and I have Randall made 14 with a stainless steel blade in my “Bug-out-bag”
    Sometimes a pocket knife is too little and a sheath knife is too much.
    Btw , Buy a quality knife sharpener and learn to use it to keep all your knives sharp.

  17. KCarns
    April 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Finding a good, solid knife that will be with you for a long time is very similar to finding the right partner. A few people get lucky right from the start, most bumble through a bunch to finally find “the one”, and for those folks who haven’t, they just have to keep looking and trying.

  18. MedicX
    June 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I think I would trust the Mora for most of a day’s activities, but, I absoultely LOVE ESEE KNIVES! They have an awesome selection designed for those from the amateur to the pro. They are well built and have a NO QUESTIONS ASKED LIFETIME WARRANTY!

  19. Quinn
    July 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Check out the knives at http://www.hedgehogleatherworks.com My favorite survival knife is the Tom Brown Tracker, I used it for a 10day course [4day Complete Survivor and 6day Bushcraft at Ancient Pathways]

  20. Wardog
    August 3, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Fallkniven A1 is what I settled on for the BOB. I was sold on the strength, durability tests conducted and although pricey I would trust it to hold up to a shtf task. It also would lash nicely & serve as a spear tip.

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